Oakcrest Elementary School’s fourth grade students enjoyed a field trip yesterday to Pensacola’s Community Maritime Park, home of the Blue Wahoos, the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. The purpose? Field research for the children’s book the students are writing. Yesterday I wrote about the opportunities for learning through shared personal histories; today presents an opportunity to write about student engagement and learning through experiential (learning) field research.
These fourth graders are writing a children’s book about the Blue Wahoos and baseball in Pensacola. The majority of them have neither been to the stadium nor to a game; sure, they can read about the team in the Pensacola News Journal or on the Wahoos website or by talking to friends or others who have been to a game. The field trip, however, allowed them to experience the stadium first hand and take in the surroundings from their perspective:
They stood beside the batting cage under the stadium and were able to see what it meant for a pitch to be thrown at 80 or 90 miles per hour.
Standing in the outfield grass beyond the wall they could see the distance from home plate that a 405 foot home run ball would travel to reach them.
In the Press Box they heard from staff writers the skills they use as a writer for the Blue Wahoos.
In the dugout they stood where Manager Delino DeShields stands during a game and saw where hit leader and first baseman Donald Lutz stores his bat. They experienced the view of the field from the team’s perspective. They “felt” the need to respect their classmates in such close quarters much like the players and coaches must do during a game.
They played with Kazoo, the sea creature mascot of the Wahoos and learned about the players and the everyday operations of the organization from professional staff. They realized that if they loved baseball and want to be part of a professional baseball organization it is possible even if they are not a star baseball player.
Their visit to the locker room gave them an opportunity to see the player lockers and uniforms, and compare the size of their foot to that of one player’s cleat.
For lunch, the students enjoyed hotdogs and chips (a must have at any ballpark!) in the Stadium’s Hancock Bank Club overlooking the field and Pensacola Bay. Again, an opportunity to experience what Stadium Journey experienced when it wrote, “It might be the nicest, fanciest, and most beautiful minor league park in America.”
I enjoyed writing about your visit to the home of the Blue Wahoos, Oakcrest Fourth Grade, and look forward to reading your book when it’s complete.
Ms. Sara Rabb, Ms. Angela Nicks, and Ms. Amanda Golab teach Fourth Grade at Oakcrest Elementary School in Escambia County, Florida. Check out the great things happening at Oakcrest on their website.
Quote from Stadium Journey available online here.
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